exterior & outdoor living

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com I’m pretty sure spring is finally here in Utah. You can never get too excited too soon because one minute it snows, then it’s 70 and sunny, then it rains,…you get the point. This nice weather has been super distracting. Even though there is plenty to keep me busy with our kitchen renovation, the only thing my brain wants to think about is our outdoor living areas. It has been really fun to see what type of landscaping is growing and blooming. Since we moved in December, we weren’t really sure what the landscaping situation would look like at our new house until spring. We spent last weekend cleaning everything up, raking, pulling out dead plants, and mulching. Things are looking really good and the potential has me very excited! I wanted to talk through my hopes, short term goals, long term goals, and what you can expect to see in regards to our outdoor living spaces this spring. Click through to read all about it and see how things currently look (before we mess with it)!

This is the first home we’ve moved into that actually has landscaping. In both of our previous homes, we’ve had to demo everything outside and completely start over. Our first house was an overgrown disaster- it took an excavator to pull the Jumanji-sized ivy off of the home (it was so bad it grew down the chimney, through the fireplace, and back out the windows). Our second house basically had nothing salvageable. The plants, trees, and grass were all dead, brown, and dried out. This house feels like a dream come true in terms of outdoor living and landscaping. It already has gorgeous landscaping and looks really nice. I’d love to tweak a couple things, but I honestly pretty much love it as is.

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com The outdoor living spaces here are going to be a different kind of challenge. Emmett and I were chatting about how excited we are that we can actually use our outdoor areas immediately after moving in. They’re livable. Even better- they’re in great shape and we can eventually turn them into beautiful spaces that are more representative of our aesthetic, on our own time. I’m going to break down each outdoor area below, with my thoughts & plans…

FRONT PORCH

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com Let’s start in the front… the front porch is pretty large, but my textural planters are already helping the vignette feel a little better.

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Add planters (obviously that’s already done).
  • Buy a better door mat that is more appropriate in scale.
  • Add another set of smaller planters to better balance the door & columns.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Replace the door.
  • Replace the door casing & millwork.
  • Replace the sconces.
  • Replace the house numbers.

Eventually, I’d like to totally transform the way the front entrance looks. It currently has a 90’s vibe and feels pretty dated. I’d also love to paint the exterior white (or whitewash the brick)! Who knows… maybe some new black windows? We’ll have to see how things play out and where the budget needs to go.


GARAGE

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com This garage is everything we’ve ever dreamt of… it’s honestly a must for our renovation. It doubles as parking, a place to store tools & equipment, and our workshop. It has been a game changer using this space to keep projects on track- even when the weather is bad. Although it’s amazing from a functional standpoint, I have big plans for the aesthetic. Right now it looks pretty basic and boring.

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Add a planter between the doors.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Replace the garage doors.
  • Replace the exterior lighting.
  • Add a trellis.
  • Install a flower box under the dormer window (grab the DIY tutorial here).

I think our garage could be really charming! I already have the vision in my brain and am looking forward to the day I get to execute my plan.


BEDROOM BALCONY

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com This is probably my favorite outdoor area as of now. It’s also the space that will need the most work. There is a big 12′ x 11′ balcony off of our master bedroom. I didn’t realize how much I loved this space until spring came along. I leave the sliding glass doors open and let the dogs run in and out. I’ll find Cash out there sunbathing. The views are gorgeous and I’m thinking this might be the first area I tackle outside. I can’t wait to sip coffee here in the morning or wine at night in my pajamas and watch the sunset. It’s really a special spot.

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Clean the railings, columns, soffit, and ceiling.
  • Paint the floor.
  • Paint the brick.
  • Add outdoor drapery to the side (to block the view of the neighbor’s yard).
  • Buy an outdoor area rug.
  • Add outdoor seating.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Structurally reinforce / rebuild the lower columns.
  • Replace the subfloor.
  • Install floor tile.
  • Update railing.
  • Add a ceiling fan.
  • Replace the doors with larger sliding or accordion ones.
  • Install gutters for proper drainage.

This balcony actually needs rebuilt. Is it going to fall down? No, but it could definitely use some reinforcements. One corner is a little squishy and the existing floor has water damage. It’s safe to walk out there, but I certainly wouldn’t host a party or have multiple people hopping around. Our home inspector basically said, “It’s fine, but I’d replace the subfloor and beams within a year or two”. I have big dreams for this space and really want to install new doors that capture more of that gorgeous view and give us a true indoor / outdoor master suite.


BACKYARD

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com Speaking of the bedroom balcony, this is a view of the backyard looking down from there. The backyard snakes all the way around the house. Given our elevation and location, we have three tiers of boulders that serve as a retaining wall. The dogs love hopping up and down these and playing chase. Our yard is basically like a doggie playground and they’re constantly zooming around back there… that’s the reason for the trekked out grass. I didn’t get photos of the other sections, but they have more fenced grassy areas to play in too. I’m just thankful we have a backyard that is big (and flat) enough to be fenced for the dogs. Lots of homes in our neighborhood / area do not because it’s too steep. I’m planning to divide the main backyard (what you see above) into two sections… a lounge area and a dining area (under the pergola). Let’s chat about the lounge area first.

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Buy outdoor speakers
  • Add lounge furniture (sofa, comfy chairs, side tables, fire pit or fire table)

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Maybe tile the space? Emmett is totally against this, BTW.

The concrete is really nice and is in great shape… it just feels boring to me, so tile isn’t going to happen anytime soon. I do love the fun curvature and think a curved outdoor sofa could be a unique way to section off the space.


PERGOLA

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com I’m planning to use the same dining set we’ve used the past two years…. you can see it here under our previous carport. It has held up really great and I still love it, so why not?

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Pull the rest of our dining furniture out of the shed and put together the dining space.
  • Roll out an outdoor rug.
  • Install string lights.
  • Add a buffet / console table.
  • Install some sort of shade fabric to the pergola.
  • Add some potted plants.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Again… maybe tile the space someday?
  • Build an outdoor kitchen (built-in grill, etc).
  • Plant some sort of creeping plant that could crawl up the edge of the pergola or cover the top.
  • Install permanent outdoor lighting & replace existing sconce.
  • Install a flower box under the window.

This area truly has a ton of potential and it should be interesting to watch it evolve over the next few years! I’m REALLY wishing for that outdoor kitchen or grilling station, but in the meantime- I think it’s going to make a beautiful setting for summer dinner parties.


BACK ENTRY

Goals for My Outdoor Living Areas - roomfortuesday.com Lastly, let’s chat about the back entryway. These french doors lead into our formal living room, which is currently covered in that mountain of boxes I showed you last week in the kitchen reno post. We use these doors about a hundred times each day, letting the dogs in & out as they please. I HATE these doors. Not only do they look ugly and dated, but they’re broken. You really have to wiggle it and pull upward to get them to shut properly. I just think this balanced vignette has so much potential and replacing these doors are a must.

SHORT TERM GOALS:

  • Add some plants.
  • Order a longer door mat.

LONG TERM GOALS:

  • Replace the doors (and maybe even the windows).
  • Potentially tile.
  • Replace the sconces.
  • Install some flower boxes.

Obviously we just moved in four months ago and things take time… I’m envisioning these projects to span over years. That’s just the reality of home renovations- indoors and out. Regardless, I’m excited to tackle some small projects this year outside and I’ll welcome future opportunities to tackle the larger ones. As for right now, I feel like we have an incredible blank canvas, can take things at our own pace, and begin enjoying these outdoor areas NOW. I’d love to hear your thoughts or questions in the comment section below!

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  • Reply
    Peggi
    April 29, 2019 at 4:14 am

    Holy cat! You really have a lot of beautiful, interesting spaces. I’m exceedingly envious of your master bedroom balcony, so yes please tackle that first. 😉 An outdoor kitchen would be dreamy, and I’d love to see what you create. Hmmm, tile does sound amazing, but the concrete looks in perfect (boring) shape. I’d be interested to see tile choices for such a traditional house-I’m sure you’ve got a vision! And, non-working doors make me want to punch myself in the face-avoidable aggravation! So much good stuff to come! Happy spring Monday!🌸🌷

    • Reply
      Anon
      April 29, 2019 at 8:12 am

      Lololol! Sarah, please save us all a lot of face-punching. Doors first! That little backdoor area should be the quickest project of all of them, right? Very excited for y’all…you have a beautiful exterior to work with!

      • Reply
        Sarah
        April 29, 2019 at 9:10 am

        HA! That had me laughing too. lol! I wish that could be the first project because it’s so annoying, but that area is currently a mess inside because of the kitchen renovation. Building materials and stuff is coming in and out of the doors and I’m worried that new ones will get banged up in the process of renovating the kitchen. I’d love to wait until after that projects is finished if I can hold out. And thank you :) I’m really excited about this house. I told Emmett I’m never going to leave. Haha! xox

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 29, 2019 at 8:53 am

      Hahaha!! I’m cracking up at the door aggression. It really is infuriating. I think the master bedroom balcony is going to happen first because selfishly- that’s where I want to hang out the most. My short term goals for that space are more cosmetic and would be easy for me to tackle. Have a great week :)

  • Reply
    Danielle
    April 29, 2019 at 8:01 am

    I would love a post/more information on your thought process behind painting the brick! I’ve always thought of it as a little sad to cover original character like brick (like painting original woodwork), even on a newer home, and would be interested in a different perspective. I’m sure whatever you do will look beautiful!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 29, 2019 at 9:07 am

      I’ll definitely share a post on that when the time comes. I’m with you… usually I’m a purist and like to keep original details as is- and I DO love a classic brick home, but I definitely think this house could be enhanced with paint. We shall see :) Regardless, I’ll post all about it! Have a great week Danielle!

  • Reply
    Meagan Puterman
    April 29, 2019 at 8:04 am

    Hi Sarah! I love all these plans. I was chuckling that Emmett is against you tiling the concrete because I’m currently in the exact same predicament over at my house. I’ve been really inspired by LVEB Design’s patio stencil tutorial in Instagram (lvebdesign) where she basically painted it and it looks sooooo classy and modern. I just need to work up the courage. You should check it out, I can see you pulling something off very similar and may be a good compromise for you and Emmett.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 29, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Thanks Meagan! Ha… he is SO against it. I’m glad I’m not alone in this battle. I’m going to have to check out the stencil tutorial you mentioned- that might be the best of both worlds (if it holds up). Thanks for the tip! xo

  • Reply
    Kristin
    April 29, 2019 at 1:12 pm

    You have a beautiful house, and such potential in all the outdoor spaces. I would NOT paint the brick, though. It’s a fairly neutral shade, as brick goes, and really lovely with the crisp black and white. Also, painting brick is VERY in right now, so while it may be to classic to be technically “trendy,” it will date your house to this moment in the trend cycle, and it’s hard to undo.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 30, 2019 at 8:22 am

      Thanks so much Kristin! I’d argue painted brick can be timeless too, depending on the way it’s done. I’d love to see some contrast and right now, every house in our neighborhood kind of has the same vibe, so I’d love to go in a different direction. I do enjoy a classic brick exterior though! It all depends on what aesthetic best fits the home when updating. I know it’s a controversial topic :) haha! xox

      • Reply
        Betsy
        May 6, 2019 at 5:56 am

        Funny thing is, when I see a brick house this color I assume it’s a newer build! Most of the older brick houses where we are (DC area) are either the natural darker red brick or painted. I guess it all has to do with what you’re used to!

        • Reply
          Sarah
          May 6, 2019 at 7:34 am

          Exactly! I think that’s why I’m leaning toward paint… this exterior just looks newer (90’s new). Ha! You’re right- it all depends on your surroundings.

  • Reply
    Julie S
    April 29, 2019 at 3:05 pm

    I love painting bad/ugly/dated brick but your house doesn’t seem to need it! Unless you want it to look a little younger vibe I guess… it is very traditional and stately in feel. If it’s too much burgundy for you then as a green tree lover I cautiously submit that you might want to consider changing out your two dark trees in front for something with actual green leaves…?

    You are blessed with great outdoor possibilities! We live in a temperate climate and I’m a SAHM & homeschooler so indoor/outdoor living is our reality all day long. We have a south, north, and west exterior door each with its own patio type of area and I really want to pick ONE to concentrate on and actually finish, as they all have been in use with random improvements.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 30, 2019 at 8:24 am

      That’s definitely an issue I’m having- good eye! I love those japanese maples though- they’re so gorgeous in person. I don’t anticipate painting or overhauling the exterior anytime soon, but I’d love to take a stab at it in the future, for sure! I see so much potential for multiple areas outside. I think that’s a great idea… choose one area, focus on that, then move to the next later on when time / budget allows. I say prioritize and go for it :) especially if you use the space frequently.

  • Reply
    Bethany
    April 29, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    You’ve followed Young House Love’s house-painting journey, right? She has had some great insights about if you should do it or not, and the product they used seems pretty incredible!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 30, 2019 at 8:26 am

      I think I need to revisit those posts!! She always has the best insight… going to check it out right now! Thanks for the reminder :)

  • Reply
    Thequeenofhighhorses
    April 29, 2019 at 7:46 pm

    What about staining the concrete? You can get the tile feel and Emmett can keep his concrete.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      April 30, 2019 at 8:32 am

      That’s another great option! I don’t know a lot about that process, but I should definitely look into it and research.

  • Reply
    GG
    May 2, 2019 at 6:05 am

    Love where this is headed! I’m just curious as to why you called the French doors ‘outdated’ (obviously the hardware is) ? They just look like a standard set of French doors to me.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 2, 2019 at 7:49 am

      Thank you! Yep- you hit the nail on the head… the outdated brass hardware and just the condition of the doors. They’re not energy efficient, the seal is dry rotted, they just seen better days. As for the aesthetic and shape- they’re fine. I’d love something that had larger windows to let more light in or a style that’s more traditional with center styles or mullions. Hope that helped to clarify :)

  • Reply
    Betsy
    May 6, 2019 at 5:53 am

    “I’m planning to use the same dining set we’ve used the past two years…. It has held up really great and I still love it, so why not?”

    Can I just say how refreshing it is to read and see this attitude lived out, especially given what home blogging is like these days? Thank you for being an inspirational but relatable breath of fresh air!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 6, 2019 at 7:33 am

      Thank you so much Betsy! I’m all about buying furniture that withstands the test of time- from a durability and an aesthetic perspective :)

  • Reply
    Katie Ryan
    May 6, 2019 at 9:24 am

    I’m team paint that brick white! It would be so gorgeous!!! Can’t wait to see your vision come to life. Thanks for taking us along for the ride Sarah. Your style and work ethic is unbelievable.

    • Reply
      Sarah
      May 6, 2019 at 12:59 pm

      Yay!! I love hearing that. Our last house was brick and I’m just ready for a visual change- I think it would be beautiful :) Thank YOU so much for following along. I can’t tell you how much that means. xox

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